General Project Summary for NSF grantees poster session
Progress through standard mathematics coursework represents a major barrier to engineering student graduation rates. Long prerequisite chains of mathematics courses have high failure rates, and must be passed to enter engineering coursework. This project aimed to investigate the mathematical expectations of engineering faculty, particularly the ambiguous quality of “mathematical maturity” seen in some engineering-mathematics education research during interviews or workshops. This research aims to create better understanding how engineering faculty perceive the mathematical needs of their students.
Interviews with 34 engineering faculty members at 7 institutions revealed a number of common themes that were very similar across disciplines and between institution types. Engineering faculty members stressed the importance of students’ ability to apply mathematics to the physical domain. Engineering faculty reported that students did not seem to believe that the mathematics they had previously learned was relevant to their current studies in engineering. Engineering faculty stressed the need for students to be able to flexibly represent physical entities in a variety of symbolic and graphical forms. In addition, while faculty emphasized that fast fluency with basic mathematical calculations remains very important, the ubiquity of computers changes where students mathematical training should focus its emphasis.
One round of survey data has been collected, investigating student beliefs about mathematics. This first round used two existing instruments from the literature to probe student beliefs about how relevant mathematics was to their engineering studies. Initial results are similar to those in previous literature by Flegg et al, but have a small response rate. We are currently preparing a second launch of the student survey aimed at achieving a larger sample for greater confidence in the results.
Brian Faulkner's interests include teaching of modeling, engineering mathematics, textbook design, and engineering epistemology.
Dr. Geoffrey L. Herman is the Severns Teaching Associate Professor with the Deprartment of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Ur
Dong San Choi is a Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Nicole received her B.S. in Engineering Physics at the Colorado School of Mines (â€™13) and her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (â€™18). She is currently a lecturer in the Materials Engineering De
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